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Sharp Dressed Man | ZZ Top

Article from One Two Testing, July/August 1986

ZZ Top grin and beard it



As everybody knows a successful band have to have something; a certain something that makes them different and special. ZZ Top being no exception to the rule certainly have that certain something which in their case takes the form of facial hair. So the first thing to bear in mind before attempting any musical essays in the style of ZZ Top is, can you cut it with the beard? or (just to avoid any confusion) if you don't cut the beard will it be up to scratch? And just in case you're still not in the picture about where the ZZ Top beard is at, let me just remind you that we're not talking Noel Edmunds double-chin camouflage, or Terry Waite arab charmers. No the ZZ Top appendage is no stranger to belly buttons (usually your own) or indeed to pectoral cleavages (usually someone elses). The time taken to grow a suitable fungi varies with the individual, though you could expect it to take anything up to six months or fifty years (depending on sex and choice of hormone therapy), which will of course give you plenty of time to study the diagrams. If you want to try writing a few Texas-Metal ditties here are some suggested titles; Woke Up With Shadow; (My Chin's) Rough, Boy; or (Victor Kiam's) Got Me Under Pressure. Now read on...



ZZ TOP MUSIC HAS A TENDENCY TO "CHUG" AND SHARP DRESSED MAN IS NO EXCEPTION, SO INSTEAD OF COUNTING FOUR TO A BAR COUNT EIGHT AT TWICE THE SPEED:

IE THIS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
AS OPPOSED TO THIS 1 2 3 4


COUNT LIKE THAT AND ALL THE FOLLOWING DIAGRAMS SHOULD BE CLEAR.

THE SONG OPENS ON A ZZ TOP HALLMARK RIFF. MOST OF THE RIFF CAN BE PLAYED IN A BAR POSITION ON THE 8TH FRET (KEY OF C MINOR/MAJOR) BUT THE LAST PART OF EACH RIFF IS PLAYED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE NECK. THERE ARE FOUR "CHORD" POSITIONS IN THE RIFF:


THE RIFF FORMS A SORT OF TUNE. AND THE ZZ TOP STYLE COMES THROUGH PLAYING THE HELD C ON THE E STRING, 8TH FRET EVERYTIME THERE IS A GAP IN THE TUNE. IN OTHER WORDS YOU PLUCK A SOLID EIGHT NOTES TO THE BAR.

HOWEVER MR. GIBBONS DOES MISS OUT A NOTE WHEN HE GOES TO THE BOTTOM OF THE NECK. AND HE MISSES OUT THE FIRST NOTE OF EACH NEW RIFF LETTING THE LAST NOTE OF THE LAST RIFF RING A BIT LONGER.

HERE IN DIAGRAM FORM IS THE RIFF:


THE GUITAR IN THE VERSE AND CHORUS USES THE LAST PART OF THE RIFF (G Bb HAMMER C G ETC). THE NOTES CHANGE WITH THE CHORD BUT APART FROM SOMETIMES OMMITTING THE HAMMER ON THE RHYTHM IS THE SAME.

THE BASS PLAYS EIGHT TO THE BAR ON THE ROOT OF THE CHORD:


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Publisher: One Two Testing - IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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One Two Testing - Jul/Aug 1986

Feature by Selma Henson

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